Arma: Armed Assault (stylized as ARMA; known as ARMA: Combat Operations in North America), is a tactical military first- and third-person shooter, released in late 2006. ARMA was developed by a 40 member team at Bohemia Interactive, an independent video game developer based in the Czech Republic.
ARMA is the spiritual successor to Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis and features an overhauled game engine, with improved graphics, physics, multiplayer functionality, scripting capabilities, and new units and vehicles. An expansion pack titled ArmA: Queen’s Gambit was released in 2007.
Because of legal issues between BI and Codemasters (the original publishers of Operation Flashpoint), Codemasters owns the intellectual property to the name Operation Flashpoint. Since BI severed its connection with Codemasters and no longer has the legal right to use the Operation Flashpoint name, Armed Assault is considered to be the direct descendant of Operation Flashpoint. ARMA 2 (previously referred to as “Game 2”) was released in June 2009. Codemasters has released a rival title to BI using the name Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, in which BI has no participation.
A map of the 400 km2-large Sahrani Island.
The campaign in Armed Assault is narrarated by Private First Class William Porter of the United States Army (voiced by Todd Kramer), and takes place on the fictional Atlantic island of Sahrani, an island nation which is divided in two, with a northern communist regime, called the Democratic Republic of Sahrani (DRS) and an oil rich southern democracy called the Kingdom of South Sahrani, à la Korea. The narrative begins when American forces, after a few months of training the South Sahrani military, begin to depart the island. The northern leader uses this moment of perceived weakness to launch a full-scale invasion of South Sahrani. The player takes on the role of an American soldier in one of the U.S. Army platoons not yet rotated off the island before the conflict began. The few U.S. Army platoons remaining on the island aid the Royal Army Corps of Sahrani (RACS), the South Sahrani military, in fending off the more powerful northern neighbor’s offensive, being spearheaded by the North Sahrani military, with the Sahrani Liberation Army (SLA) at the forefront.
The campaign follows a linear storyline. However, each level in the campaign has options for the player on how to progress through the mission. The player’s in-game performance and choices determine how the storyline progresses and ultimately will have a bearing on the war itself. For example, a mission to seize a crucial town can have a substantial effect on the story depending on the player’s level of success or failure. Failure to successfully complete an objective does not result in the game ending but will affect the storyline. Hostile squads act independently of the player’s actions so that they may be engaging in an activity dictated by the game A.I. that does not necessarily involve the player. This implies that the game has high replay value as no two games will be identical.
ARMA’s expansion pack, ARMA: Queen’s Gambit, was released on September 28, 2007 and contained a followup to the original storyline and added a second event afterward.
An ingame screenshot demonstrating the high draw distance, making long range engagements up to 10 kilometres possible.
The multiplayer aspect of the game features a “Join in Progress” option, so that players can play without waiting. The number of people allowed in a multiplayer game is limited only by the server’s capability. NPCs are also available in multiplayer missions, both as allies and foes, while the mission editor allows users to script battle scenarios. A cooperative mode of gameplay is also included, allowing players online to complete the single player missions as a human player squad. The Armed Assault community also creates custom content such as new missions, campaigns, factions and weapons.
A new multiplayer mode that blends FPS and RTS elements was released as ArmA Warfare in the official update 1.14. ArmA Warfare contains team-based multiplayer missions with realtime strategy. Two sides fight for control of the entire map or destruction of the enemy base. Players must capture whole cities to gain resources that can be channeled into manufacturing even more weapons and units.
ARMA received average reception on its release, praised for the unique believability of its action but criticized for its difficulty, complexity, and bugs. IGN said “ArmA’s adherence to realism and accuracy in terms of weapons and world design is highly commendable and hopefully will inspire other developers in similar directions.” GameDaily praised its “spectacular graphics” and its multiplayer, but criticized its bugs and “complicated menu system”. Computer Games Online said “It’s hard…to believe that they actually thought that such an unpolished game would enjoy any kind of success.”WorthPlaying concluded its review with “There are so many things going for Armed Assault: Combat Operations in terms of presentation, concept and effort. Unfortunately, it slips up in so many ways that affect the gameplay to a serious degree that it turns what could have been a great military combat simulator into a test of patience. …That said, ArmA is one of the more authentic first-person shooter war games out now, so…ArmA is worth considering.”